Happy Anniversary to UofL’s Institutional Repository, ThinkIR!

By Sarah Frankel, Open Access & Repository Coordinator

On February 12, 2015, Digital Initiatives Librarian Rachel Howard imported over 1,000 Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) from the University Libraries’ Digital Collections into the newly created ThinkIR: The University of Louisville’s Institutional Repository. Three years later, this particular collection now has nearly 3,000 titles which have been downloaded over 500,000 times! This same year, graduate students began submitting their theses and dissertations to ThinkIR directly, after approval from their committees. This has saved much time and effort, now that we no longer have to scan each paper or track down students to sign permission forms!

thinkIR homepage

In 2016, we began recruiting faculty scholarship for inclusion in ThinkIR and also developed a mediated deposit model where we create research profiles for faculty members, investigate the copyright status of their works and ultimately upload what can be included in ThinkIR. Today, we have 341 faculty papers in ThinkIR and over 50 faculty profiles have been created, which we anticipate will grow even more in the coming year.

In early 2017, the first open access journal hosted by ThinkIR – Journal of Respiratory Infections – was launched. We also host the Journal of Refugee & Global Health. Both journals are managed by UofL faculty and staff on the Health Sciences Campus.

In addition to these successes, ThinkIR is also home to the College of Education & Human Development Capstone Projects and the College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. In 2017, the administrators of the Honors Program and several faculty advisors began using ThinkIR in what we refer to as the “caterpillar” model. Each student submits a proposal, the faculty member reads it and submits their review, the proposal is then replaced with the thesis document by the student, then the faculty member submits a final review, the thesis is approved by the administrators and posted to ThinkIR. The entire process from beginning to end is completed using the repository!

To date, our most downloaded item is a 2012 Master’s Thesis from the Department of Pan African Studies: “The hidden help : black domestic workers in the civil rights movement” by Trena Easley Armstrong – this has been downloaded 7,725 times since February 12, 2015!

Photographic Archives showcases portraits of children from Fine Print collection

By Niki King

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville Photographic Archives presents “Fine Young Kids,” a new exhibition featuring portraits of children from the archives’ vast Fine Print collection

Harlem, NYC - Copy

Harlem, NYC, by Leonard Freed

Such critically acclaimed photographers as Leonard Freed, Sally Mann, Bruce Davidson, Bill Carner, Arthur Leipzig, Nicholas Nixon, Barbara Crawford and Ralph Eugene Meatyard took the photos from 1940 through 2012. There are 31 photos in color and black and white.

Assistant curator Marcy Werner artfully arranged the portraits in clusters or in juxtaposition, causing the viewer to consider childhood from differing perspectives: How has childhood changed through the years? How does an American childhood differ from those abroad? How do children process adult values? 

“While many of these photographs appear to be straight portraiture, whimsy or documentation, there is additional meaning in the context of place and pose. Most of these children appear quite aware their photos were being taken. How they chose to present themselves provides relatable moments, if one can remember what it was like to be a kid,” Werner said.

The exhibition is for the young and young-at-heart. Families with children are invited to peruse the portraits and also visit the Multicultural Children’s Literature Collection on the third floor. The collection features thousands of multicultural and diversity-related books and materials for children of all ages.

“Fine Young Kids” is in the Photographic Archives and Kain Rare Books Gallery in the lower level of Ekstrom Library, Belknap Campus, through May 25. Click here for gallery hours, directions and other information.

For more information contact Archives and Special Collections Director Carrie Daniels at 502-852-6752 or carrie.daniels@louisville.edu.

University Libraries offers new digital historic Courier-Journal

Despite recent budget challenges, the University Libraries have been able to maintain, or in some cases expand, the digital and print resources we offer our patrons. We have retained existing databases such as Elsevier’s Science Direct platform, and through cost efficiencies we are excited to offer new products, including the digital version of the historic Courier-Journal (1830-2000). Access to this new resource, which provides complete electronic access to the full Courier-Journal back file, is available from our web site at: https://library.louisville.edu/ekstrom/cj

The Libraries have realigned resources to assess efficiencies and create a more sustainable operating environment that ensures students, faculty and researchers can continue their important scholarship. Over the past year, the University Libraries system has:

  • Reassigned staff to focus on building sustainable collections.
  • Implemented a comprehensive e-resource management system.
  • Assessed costs and analyzed usage data for all databases and subscriptions.
  • Evaluated program needs and incorporated input from faculty.
  • Studied peer institutions for comparison.

As budget reductions brought about a significant funding shortfall for FY 18, we made the difficult decision to not renew the Elsevier platform whose costs had dramatically increased. In fall 2017, at the urging of Health Sciences Center faculty, the University restored funding for this critical resource.

We understand the Libraries’s centrality to scholarly work and are therefore excited to continue providing these rich resources for the University community. However, where we cannot provide access to resources, we offer our Inter-Library Loan system (ILL), as well as a broad spectrum of resources for faculty: http://library.louisville.edu/faculty.  You are invited to share your concerns with us via this online comment form.



Tom Owen wins Top Award from Kentucky Historical Society

University of Louisville Libraries Archivist and Historian Tom Owen was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, the top honor of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), at its annual awards ceremony on November 10.


UofL Archivist Tom Owen with Constance Alexander, president of the Kentucky Historical Society Governing Board.

A former Louisville Metro Councilman and caretaker of Louisville lore and history, Owen was cited for his “service to history, to UofL and to Louisville; his work as an archivist, making UofL’s records and archival collections available to researchers; and his walking tours—both the physical tours and their recordings. He made the city his classroom.” He was also praised as a “scholar who popularized history and . . . elevated history’s importance for many people.”

Owen is known for his walking tours, which capture the color and history of a particular corner of the city as part of a series on local public television, titled Tom Owen’s Louisville. Recently, he also offered weekly tours of UofL’s Belknap campus, detailing the background and stories of various buildings and areas.  His research in this area led to the recent publication of a book in collaboration with Archives colleague Sherri Pawson, University of Louisville Belknap Campus.

Owen is also well-known as a politician locally, having served as a Louisville Metro Council member from 2003 until his retirement in 2016, and prior to that, on the old Board of Alderman from 1990 to 1998.  He has been an archivist with UofL for 42 years.

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor the Kentucky Historical Society presents. DSA winners have provided great services to Kentucky and the field of history in their professional or personal lives.  The ceremony was held at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, 100 W. Broadway, in Frankfort, Ky.

Additional recipients included:

Service/Special Awards

  • Tom Owen, Louisville, Distinguished Service Award
  • Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Thomas D. Clark Award of Excellence Award
  • Donna Russell, Oldham County, Award of Distinction Award
  • Ken Reis, Campbell County, Frank R. Levstik Award for Professional Service Award
  • Kurt Holman, Boyle County, Lifetime Dedication to Kentucky History Award
  • Scott Clark and Brian Mabeltini, Boyle County, Brig. Gen. William R. Buster Award
  • Kentucky Humanities Council, Community Impact Award
  • Hannah O’Daniel, Louisville, Kentucky Public History Intern Award

Publication Awards

  • David J. Bettez, “Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front”
  • Shawn D. Chapman, “Removing Recalcitrant County Clerks in Kentucky”
  • Ronald Wolford Blair, “Wild Wolf: The Great Civil War Rivalry”
  • John David Miles, “Historic Architecture of Shelby County, Ky, 1792–1915”
  • Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society
  • 43rd Annual Hopkins County Yearbook

Education Awards

  • Charles W. Logsdon Historic Downtown Walking Tour, Elizabethtown
  • Jeff Crooper/Logan County Genealogical Society, “The Future of Indexing”
  • James Graham Brown Foundation and John Kleber, Brown Fellows Program, Kentucky Connections Handbook

KHS also honored Jennifer Faith, an Eastside Middle School (Shepherdsville) teacher who was Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher of the Year for Kentucky, and Collins Award recipient Andrea Smalley, associate professor, Northern Illinois University. The Collins Award goes to the author of an article from The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to Kentucky history. Smalley’s article, “‘They Steal Our Deer and Land’: Contested Hunting Grounds in the Trans-Appalachian West,” was in the summer/autumn 2016 issue of The Register.

“Which bridge did Muhammed Ali throw his medal off of?” and other interesting questions answered by the Research Assistance & Instruction Department

By Anna Marie Johnson

Imagine a job where you were able to learn about all kinds of different and fascinating topics in the process of helping someone answer a burning question that they have. That is part of the work of the Research Assistance and Instruction (RAI) office. Librarians, professional staff, and peer research assistants answer questions like these (and much more prosaic ones such as “Why can’t I access this journal article I need?”)  via e-mail, chat, phone, or face-to-face:

  • How many buildings are there on Belknap Campus?
  • How did St. Paul come to be a Roman citizen?
  • What is the childhood address of Hunter S. Thompson?
  • What was the roll call vote for the Kentucky senators and House members for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
  • Can you help me research design for justifying the excavation of a privy?
  • What are the cultural reactions regarding American Indians during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1870-1929)—particularly in how American Indians and the related federal policies were represented in the media?
  • Where can I find industry and consumer data for Gillette Fusion?
  • What are the general prosodic characteristics of English and Spanish?

Over the years, we have helped with questions that ranged from the esoteric (journal articles on the dead Sabaean language, from someone wanting to piece together the language and write a book about it) to the downright impossible, such as the patron who wanted a copy of the WHAS Radio broadcast license from 1927, or the patron researching obscure magicians and street performers from Europe.

“What’s the best book you’ve ever read?”

While we go to great lengths to track down an answer, sometimes there’s a little luck involved. One day, a call came in to Rob Detmering, the librarian responsible for Film Studies. The caller was looking for one of the original copies of a 1972 film called Asylum of Satan. The film had reportedly been shot here in Louisville and the out-of-state caller thought that the university might have a copy. Rob asked around to the Archives, the Art Department, and a few other campus contacts that he thought might know something,

“How many theaters exist in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel?”

but to no avail. Rob did some digging in the online database for the Courier-Journal that the library subscribes to and discovered the film had been shown at a film festival in 2008 at Baxter Avenue Theatre. Rob called the theater and spoke with someone who not only knew the film but knew the location of the copy that they had used in the showing.

We often learn a lot as we’re helping.  Our former Libraries Diversity Resident George Martinez received a question from a faculty member asking about the history of the African American Theater program at UofL. He looked through some microfilm and consulted with our colleagues in the Archives & Special Collections to find articles that traced the history of a controversy over how money generated by the Fiesta Bowl was being used for scholarships. The results of that controversy was the increase in hiring and scholarship distribution to increase the diversity at UofL.

Got Questions? Ekstrom’s RAI Department can help you track down your answer! Oh, and there is some doubt as to whether Ali ever threw his medal off any bridge, but the closest answer is the Clark Memorial.


Presentations at the Kentucky Library Association Annual Conference

Several faculty and staff will represent the University of Louisville Libraries at the upcoming Kentucky Library Association Conference this weekend at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. Following are some of the presentations and presenters at this year’s event, which runs from September 21-23.


ETDplus:​ ​Guidance​ ​for​ ​Graduate​ ​Students’ Research​ ​Output

Rachel​ ​Howard,​ ​Digital​ ​Initiatives​ ​Librarian, and Dwayne​ ​Buttler,​ ​JD, Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication

The​ ​IMLS-funded​ ​ETDplus​ ​project​ ​has​ ​produced guidance​ ​documentation,​ ​workshop​ ​materials, and​ ​software​ ​tools​ ​for​ ​students​ ​and​ ​staff​ ​to​ ​use in​ ​managing​ ​complex​ ​digital​ ​objects​ ​such​ ​as research​ ​data​ ​sets,​ ​video​ ​installations,​ ​websites and​ ​music​ ​recitals.​ ​These​ ​intellectual​ ​works cannot​ ​be​ ​captured​ ​in​ ​words​ ​alone​ ​and​ ​implicate copyright,​ ​metadata,​ ​file​ ​formats,​ ​versioning, and​ ​other​ ​research​ ​and​ ​practical​ ​challenges.​ ​We will​ ​demonstrate​ ​these​ ​freely​ ​available​ ​resources and​ ​their​ ​potential​ ​uses.

Renovations​ ​and​ ​Innovations:​ ​Merging Departments​ ​and​ ​Unit​ ​Cultures

Matthew​ ​Goldberg,​ ​Head, Access & User Services,​ ​Ekstrom​ ​Library; Ashley​ ​Triplett, Student Supervisor and Social Media Library Specialist, ​Ekstrom​ ​Library

This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​story​ ​of​ ​Ekstrom​ ​Library​ ​at​ ​the University​ ​of​ ​Louisville​ ​and​ ​its​ ​renovations​ ​during 2015​ ​and​ ​the​ ​experiences​ ​we​ ​had​ ​merging​ ​nine separate​ ​sub-departments​ ​into​ ​a​ ​single​ ​unit called​ ​Access​ ​and​ ​User​ ​Services.​ ​What​ ​may​ ​seem like​ ​a​ ​challenging​ ​process​ ​turned​ ​into​ ​an opportunity​ ​for​ ​growth​ ​and​ ​development.​ ​We will​ ​explore​ ​how​ ​we​ ​reexamined​ ​how​ ​the​ ​public desks​ ​prioritized​ ​our​ ​patrons​ ​and​ ​how​ ​we​ ​grew from​ ​several​ ​disjointed​ ​departments​ ​into​ ​a​ ​single unit​ ​with​ ​a​ ​unified​ ​department​ ​culture.

Kentucky​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Great​ ​War:​ ​Filling​ ​and Operating​ ​Military​ ​Camp​ ​Libraries

Jonathan​ ​Jeffrey,​ ​Department​ ​Head,​ ​Manuscripts Coordinator,​ ​Western​ ​Kentucky​ ​University; and Delinda​ ​Stephens​ ​Buie,​ ​Curator​ ​of​ ​Rare​ ​Books, Archives​ ​&​ ​Special​ ​Collections

The​ ​American​ ​Library​ ​Association​ ​provided library​ ​services​ ​in​ ​U.S.​ ​military​ ​camps​ ​during WWI.​ ​To​ ​fill​ ​those​ ​libraries,​ ​Americans​ ​donated​ ​3 million​ ​books​ ​in​ ​1918​ ​with​ ​Kentuckians contributing​ ​generously.​ ​Louisville’s​ ​Camp Zachary​ ​Taylor​ ​was​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​ALA’s​ ​work​ ​to provide​ ​wholesome​ ​activities​ ​in​ ​the​ ​training camps.​ ​They​ ​also​ ​sought​ ​to​ ​show​ ​the​ ​value​ ​and even​ ​“manliness”​ ​of​ ​libraries.​ ​Perhaps​ ​ironically, much​ ​of​ ​the​ ​work​ ​at​ ​Taylor​ ​was​ ​done​ ​by​ ​women from​ ​the​ ​Louisville​ ​Free​ ​Public​ ​Library.

Research​ ​DIY:​ ​Enhancing​ ​Online​ ​Learning Through​ ​Strategic​ ​Planning​ ​and​ ​Collaborative Professional​ ​Development

Robert​ ​Detmering,​ ​Information​ ​Literacy Coordinator,​ ​Information​ ​Literacy​ ​Coordinator; Amber​ ​Willenborg,​ ​Online​ ​Learning​ ​and​ ​Digital Media​ ​Librarian

We​ ​enhanced​ ​and​ ​expanded​ ​our​ ​online instruction​ ​program,​ ​while​ ​building​ ​buy-in​ ​within a​ ​departmental​ ​culture​ ​that​ ​was​ ​not​ ​enthusiastic about​ ​this​ ​work.​ ​Through​ ​strategic​ ​hiring, staffing​ ​reallocation,​ ​and​ ​collaborative professional​ ​development,​ ​we​ ​created​ ​general and​ ​customized​ ​online​ ​tools​ ​and​ ​services, including​ ​course-embedded​ ​content.​ ​We​ ​will share​ ​our​ ​team-based​ ​creative​ ​process, promotional​ ​activities,​ ​and​ ​initial​ ​assessment data​ ​for​ ​our​ ​homegrown​ ​research​ ​DIY​ ​site, Discover​ ​It​ ​Yourself.


Voices from Underground Music Scene Added to Archives

Across the country, a substantial number of academic musical archives are dedicated to folk, world, country, bluegrass, classical and other musical genres, while other popular forms – namely punk, hardcore, indie and rock – are left out of the mix.

Aiming to correct this imbalance, UofL’s Louisville Underground Music Archive (LUMA) was established in 2013 to preserve recordings, photographs, videos, ‘zines, set lists, fan mail, and other artifacts of the Louisville underground music scene from the late 1970s until the present.

Not only does LUMA not consider these musical genres to be chopped liver, it recently pursued and was given a grant of $1,800 by the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), allowing LUMA to add oral histories – interviews with individuals from the era – to its collection.


Hard Times covered the hardcore/punk scene in Louisville.

“These oral histories will be an excellent way to round out our collection” said Heather Fox, co-director of the Oral History Center and archivist for manuscript collections with Archives and Special Collections. Eighteen-hundred dollars doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but it makes it possible for us to do this work,” said Fox, who will oversee the project.

Matched by funds from the ASC’s oral history budget, the project will be built with $3,600, most of which will go toward paying local journalist and former punk rocker Chip Nold to conduct interviews with musicians from the era.

Nold is not only an experienced journalist and interviewer, with a degree in history from Princeton, but was also the lead singer for Babylon Dance Band (aka “the Babs”), one of the first punk groups in Louisville, thus “the perfect candidate for the project,” Fox said.

“Chip had experience interviewing people for feature stories, but we made sure to train him on oral history methodology, and then sent him out with a trusty Marantz PMD 660 [a portable compact flash recorder] to get started.”


Skull of Glee

“The oral history project fills in the gaps of our collection,” she continued. “It lets us discover what it was like to be playing music during that era, and what it felt like to be there then. This is something oral history is great at fleshing out.”

Among the first interview subjects  was a local music critic, with other musicians from the scene also on tap.

“LUMA is an effort to document part of Louisville’s culture that might not be documented otherwise. Music has played an important role in cultural life of Louisville and still does, and LUMA is filling in that gap.”

“When we’re collecting artifacts around a music scene, we’re less interested in the published material, because there are multiple copies of that. We’re more interested in finding unique items, like fan mail.”

As an example, LUMA has a collection of fan mail sent to Louisville hardcore band Endpoint. Mail addressed to the band came from fans in Louisville, around the U.S., and even Germany.

“Fan mail demonstrates the impact this music had on this community and in other parts of the country and world. . . .It documents the ways in which people communicated before the internet, which is really neat,” Fox said.

“There is fan mail from Louisville fans just across town to the guys in the band. I doubt that ever happens now. People are on Facebook or other social media and have immediate contact.”

Once completed, Fox will upload them to the digital collections where visitors will be able to search for specific passages within the recordings. Archives and Special Collections will be “integrating a new software that will allow us to index digital oral histories and then provide online access that will include a search box, to make the recording key-word searchable. It’s also time-coded, so you can go to the exact place in the audio to find that passage.”

“Ideally what we want is a full transcription of an interview; that’s the most time consuming thing of the process,” she continued.

Fox has eight years of experience with all aspects of oral history, including recording, transcribing and conducting such interviews. She also provided access to oral histories through her work at the Kentucky Historical Society on the Pass the Word website and at the University of Louisville’s CONTENTdm instance which provides online transcripts and streaming audio.

The LUMA advisory board is comprised of local musicians like Nathan Salsburg, musician and curator of the Alan Lomax Archive; musician and actor Will Oldham; Diane Pecknold, professor of popular culture who has written and edited books about country music (who is married to a member of the Louisville band Squirrel Bait); and other members of the community like John Timmons, owner of celebrated ear X-tacy, an erstwhile record store that employed many active participants in the scene, developed a list of active and well-known musicians in the scene during the early to mid-1980s.

Please browse the LUMA collection and find out more about Archives and Special Collections.